23 Hindu devotees die in northern India after a farm tractor overturns and falls into a pond

LUCKNOW, India (AP) — A farm tractor pulling a wagon loaded with Hindu devotees overturned and fell into a pond in northern India on Saturday, killing at least 23 people, including eight children, officials said.

The wagon was carrying around 40 devotees on their way to take a ritual bath in the Ganges River when it veered off the road in Kasganj district of Uttar Pradesh state, police said. Officials said at least nine injured were being treated in hospitals, some of them in serious condition.

Authorities have banned tractor-pulled wagons from transporting passengers, but the order is generally flouted in rural India.

In 2022, 26 people were killed in a similar accident, also in Uttar Pradesh.

Police officer Aparna Kaushik said an initial investigation indicated that the tractor was traveling at a considerable speed before the driver lost control. It wasn't clear if the driver had survived.

India has some of the highest road death rates in the world, with hundreds of thousands of people killed and injured annually. Most crashes are blamed on reckless driving, poorly maintained roads and aging vehicles.